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Welcome to Bellz&Bunz

I guess I should start off by introducing myself, so, here I go!

I’ll keep it simple and straight forward. I promised myself when I started this blog, that i would be 100% apologetically me!

My name is Denise, I’m 37 and a mom of 2 boys. Jonathan who’s ( holy shit) turning 13 this year and Daniel who’s 10.  I’m married to Brad, who I will often refer to as “the hubs”. I am a full-time working mom and am currently enrolled in school part-time to become a registered nutritionist focusing on sports and nutrition.  I have been working in healthcare for the majority of my career, primarily in paediatric healthcare for the last 16 years, 10 of which I have spent as a senior manager in business operations.

I have an auto-immune disease called Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is what sparked my passion for health and fitness.  You can read my story about living with RA in my blog called “it’s been 641 days”.

My heaviest weight I’ve ever been is 242 lbs (I’m now 135lbs).  I’ve yoyo dieted probably since I was 16yrs old, until  my diagnosis with RA 2 years ago which is when I changed my way of looking at nutrition and my health overall.  I’m a gym rat! I love lifting weights, pushing myself to do things I never thought I could, because I find the feeling of accomplishment to be so fulfilling emotionally and physically.  You will notice that I have a lot of tattoo’s. I always get asked about them. My sleeve is a picture of a woman warrior, holding a sword ready for battle, with a blossomed lotus flower. In short the meaning for me is internal strength.

So why now- why the blog?  Well, here’s the thing I learned this past year that took me my entire life to understand.  I can put myself first and not feel guilty about it. Why? because I am a better person, woman, mother,wife,  friend, daughter, when I am healthy and happy.   These past (almost) 2 years, I have made my health a priority and it has changed my entire balance in love, health, family and motherhood.   Which is what has brought me here and the desire to empower and help other women with hopes to inspire them to live the best versions of themselves. Make themselves a priority and not for one minute feel guilty about it.

My promise to you is I will keep it real, share my personal stories, my successes and my failures.  I will share my m personal workouts and fitness programs that I have done or am currency doing that don’t suck ass and will get you results.

I should mention I am a wicked cook and baker (I am actually a certified professional baker) Checkout my recipes and give them a try. everything I make keeps into consideration, health, nutrients and of course stuff my kids love. They are also easy and quick, because lets be honest who has time to waste!

Thank you so much for  visiting my page. I truly believe a journey is a destination and I hope to walk along side you on your path!

xo

Denise

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

This was my first time making Cauliflower pizza crust.  Not sure why I waited so long to actually try making it, but I think it’s because Pizza is typically one of my cheat meals..so when I make pizza I make a regular ( usually spelt) crust pizza.  Anyway, the boys wanted Pizza for Sunday dinner and I since I spent most of the week eating at Tim Hortons ( it was a rough week) I decided to give this low carb healthy crust a try.  Well…it actually surprised me on how good it turned out, which is why I’m sharing my “off the top of my head” recipe that I sorta, kinda threw together.

This makes about an 8inch pizza crust.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of cauliflower ‘rice”. or you can use the crown of 1 whole cauliflower, cut up and pulsed in the food processor until finely chopped)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp grated mozzarella
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 glove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • fresh parsley
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil, once it starts boiling, add the cauliflower. let boil for 3-4 minutes
  3. drain cauliflower, then with a cloth or paper towel, squeeze all water out of the cauliflower. Make sure there is no water left. This is the most important step or you won’t get the crust to crisp
  4. in a bowl add cauliflower and the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  place cauliflower mix on sheet and flatten out into “crust”  you can make it as thin or thick as you like.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes
  7. Remove from oven and let cool.
  8. add your favorite pizza toppings
  9. then bake again for 10-15 minutes.

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Coconut Flour Protein Pancakes

If you have gone through my recipes, you have probably figured out by now that I love breakfast. It’s my favorite meal of the day, seriously!

My son Daniel, loves pancakes ( this he got from his mamma). I’m not exactly sure why we love pancakes so much, I think it’s because you can literally make it a hundred different ways. Although my kids prefer my blueberry spelt pancakes,  coconut flour pancakes are actually one of my personal favorites, aside from my Oatmeal Protein Pancakes ( which they love too). On days where I keep my carbohydrates low, these pancakes are perfect. They are low carb, gluten free, dairy free ( if used with plant-based protein) and sugar free. High in fiber, healthy fats and protein. And it only has 5 ingredients! perfect right!

This recipe is for 1 serving ( which can easily be doubled)

Ingredients:

  • 2tbsp coconut flour
  • 1tbsp protein powder
  • 3 eggs whites
  • 1-2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk ( you can use any milk you choose)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • cinnamon ( as much or as little as you like, or none at all)

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients with a fork.  Coconut flour becomes thick very quickly, it’s not runny like regular pancake batter. You can add more almond milk if needed. The batter should look/have this consistency (See pic below). it also takes a bit longer to cook on each side, about 2-3 minutes ( on med /low heat)

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Overnight Protein Chia Pudding

Listen, anything that I can make at night to make my life easier in the morning is a plus for me, when I first started making the overnight chia, I won’t lie, I wasn’t the biggest fan. I always felt like it was missing something. The texture was always off.  |I most have played around with the recipe over a dozen times, but I have finally mastered the PERFECT combo to make the most delicious overnight chia pudding that is packed with protein, fiber and all around goodness.

Give it a try, trust me you won’t be disappointed!

Ingredients:

  •  3 tbsp Chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds ( ground)
  • 1 tsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp protein powder ( I use vanilla)- this is optional- you don’t have to add it in- you can use a whey or plant-based protein
  • 1tbsp pure maple syrup or honey
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter ( optional) *almond butter is delicious too

This is 1 serving.  stir all together in a small Tupperware or bowl. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes, stir again, then place overnight in the fridge.  This will last upto 3 days in the fridge

Top with your favorite fresh berries, yogurt, seeds or nuts!

Enjoy

 

xo

Denise

Coconut Chocolate Banana Muffins

All the reasons why you need to make these damn good muffins:

Only 9 ingredients, simple, delicious, gluten free,  dairy free, sugar-free,  loaded with fiber, low carb and you can’t just have one…need more reasons???

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  •  2 bananas ( ripe)
  •  2 tbsp natural peanut butter ( optional)
  • 1 tbsp honey ( I use raw honey)
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground flax seeds ( optional)

 

Pre-heat oven to 350, line or grease a muffin tin.

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients.  Scoop into muffin tin and bake for 12-14 minutes

 

Guilt Free PB Cookies

Are you ready for this??? These Peanut Butter cookies are….wait for it…… GUILT FREE

Yes, you hear that right, I said Guilt Free!  No carbs, no refined sugar, no dairy and are made with only 3 ingredients!  Yup..you heard that right too…only 3!

Here you go..write this down, make these cookies and to thank me, you can send me a batch 🙂

  1. 1 cup of Natural Peanut Butter ( room temp preferred) * feel free to substitute with Almond Butter
  2.  1 egg
  3.  1/2 cup coconut sugar

Mix in a small bowl with a spatula, roll into 1 inch balls, place on lined baking sheet, flatten with a fork and bake at 350 for about 12-13 minutes!

Enjoy!!!

Xo

Denise

Oatmeal Protein Pancakes

Looking for a quick and easy post work-out breakfast? Well, I got it!  These protein pancakes are ( and I don’t normally brag, but I will here) the BEST protein pancakes you will ever make yourself!  Also they are gluten free, high fiber and packed with protein!

Serving is for 1- so if you want to make it for you and your family ( note- my boys love these) just double up the recipe!

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Oatmeal ( uncooked, quick oats)

3 egg whites ( or substitute for one whole egg)

1tbsp vanilla Whey Isolate Protein Powder ( I use, Allmax All Natural whey isolate Protein- I find it the best protein powder to bake with) available at Boss Newmarket 

1 tbsp unsweetened Almon milk

2 tsp ground flax seed

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Just mix in a blender and pour into skillet, cook like a pancake!

Viola, easy peasy!!

Try these…and let me know how you like them 🙂

 

xo

Denise

 

 

Snacking

Chris Pratt hit the nail on the head when he started #whatsmysnack on IG. If you are one of his fans, you know exactly what I’m talking about. His hilarious clips about his healthy snacks had me seriously laughing out loud! I mean, who doesn’t drool over healthy carrot cake!

Let’s talk about snacks and why you see so many of the fitness guru’s talking about how important it is to snack between meals!

Planning snacks and making the right choices for snacks is as important as planning your meals.  The whole point of snacks between meals is to keep your metabolism working throughout the day- which is why you hear so many nutritionists and dieticians enforcing the 5-6 meals a day. 3 large, 2-3 small ones.  

You want to make sure that your snacks contain the fuel your body needs but it’s also dependent on what you do all day.  For example: because I’m a kickboxing trainer and I am physically active all day and since I usually burn anywhere from 1000-1200 calories before noon, I make sure my snacks give my body the fuel it needs to support my active day, my training, but that also keeps me satisfied.(Note: no one is pretty when they are ‘hangry’). However, If you have a sedentary job, it’s important for your body to get the fuel it needs to actively keep your metabolism burning and working versus storing.  

Eating less does NOT make you lose weight! In fact, it will do the exact opposite. Not eating enough will slow down your metabolism,  therefore instead of burning fat for fuel, you are storing it, because your body literally thinks “it will need it for later”.  Our metabolism does one of 3 things with the food we eat. It either stores it, burns it or builds it.  That is why the food that we choose to eat is important for our overall nutrition, whether you are trying to lose weight, maintain your weight or even gain weight.

Meal planning can be overwhelming, mainly because there is so much out there in terms of diets. We have keto, paleo, Atkins, raw, plant-based, macro counting, point counting and the list goes on and on, which is why we can easily get overwhelmed with knowing where to start, trying to figure out what’s good for us and which one will work.  Nutrition is an individual thing, everybody is different, and there are so many facets that contribute to us successfully having a balanced and health ‘diet’.  This is why I can’t stress enough how important it is to make eating balanced and healthy a lifestyle, not as a short term diet.  Personally, I like to bring it back to the basics, the fundamentals of nutrition- how our body processes food and how our metabolism works. My nutrition advice and recommendations are based on simple nutrition- healthy, wholesome, natural foods. I choose this way of eating because it fits my lifestyle, fuels my body accordingly and most importantly we eat this way as a family.  The point is finding a balanced nutrition that you can sustain as a lifestyle and that makes you feel good in whichever diet you choose to follow.

Back to snacking.  I’m going to keep it simple and easy to follow.   This pretty much sums up how I choose my snacks throughout the day:

  1. A protein, a fat and a carbohydrate- this type of snack is ideal as a mid-morning snack (between breakfast & lunch) or as a pre-workout snack.
  2. A protein and a fat: ideal as a mid-day snack (between Lunch and dinner) or as a post workout snack either before or after dinner.
  3. A fat & a carbohydrate- can be mid morning or mid day snack

*Try to keep your carbohydrate snacks to vegetables or berries if you are less active throughout the day.

List of my top go to snacks. Simple, fast to prepare and quick to eat.

A protein, a fat, a carbohydrate:

  • ½ cup cottage cheese, ¼ cup blackberries ( or any berry), 2 tbsp nuts
  • 1 cup of greek yogurt, with tbsp peanut butter and ¼ cup berries
  • Smoothie ( Protein Powder, ¼ cup frozen mango, ¼ cup avocado)

A Protein & Fat

  • Protein shake with added Peanut butter
  • Yogurt/Cottage Cheese with Almonds or walnuts

A Fat & Carbohydrate:

  • Cucumbers & Hummus
  • Rice cake with PB
  • Celery & Cherry with Guacamole
  • Small Apple with Almond Butter

 

Today’s take away?  Eat better not less. Make better choices, make the change a lifestyle and please fuel your body!

 

Xo

Denise